I’ve decided to do a weekly post that will get me used to the idea of putting my writing out in the open – a “Sunday Sample” of whatever it is I’m working on at the time. I need to get some regularity back into my writing and blogging. I hope you enjoy reading the excerpts as much as I enjoy writing them =)
This week, I had a stroke of inspiration and unearthed an old Nano novel. After reading through the rough draft (and I do mean rough… O.O), I saw the entire story with sudden clarity. I knew exactly what I wanted it to be, and it excited me. So, in the spirit of writing what’s fun, here’s a small draft excerpt of my urban fantasy, Darkened Soul.
Danny gathered his papers from the copy machine, stifling a yawn. He tipped his head to one side, then the other; his neck still ached. He couldn’t complain though, as once again he’d gotten out of the hospital after only a brief stay. The docs suggested he take a few days off of work, but sitting around at home would make him crazy.
Crazy. Yep. He chuckled, getting the usual nervous glances from his co-workers.
He’d become something of a wonder, well known by the emergency room staff. Before he left, they’d made him appointment with some kind of specialist, though Danny had no clue what they thought they were going to find. He might even go to the appointment; it would be nice if they did find something, some explanation for his death-dodging ways.
He saluted his friend Gail in her cubicle on the way back to his office. When he walked in, he gasped and jumped, putting a hand on the door jamb to steady himself. He narrowed his eyes.
Nathan lounged in his chair with one leg dangling over the armrest. He spun back and forth, hands clasped in his lap.
Danny shook his head, standing in front of his desk to sort his papers. “You gotta stop doing that.”
Nathan’s lips twitched in amusement, his one eye fixed on Danny’s face.
The man had shown up several times during the days after Danny was discharged from the hospital, scaring the daylights out of him every time. The boss wasn’t too happy about Nathan’s presence – he made the workers antsy – but after “the detective” had flashed his badge, there was nothing to do but go along with it.
Danny didn’t know why Nathan hung around. The only information that he offered was that his job involved discovering and sorting out “oddities.” Whatever that meant. But he supposed he fit the bill well enough.
Danny felt his cheeks warm up. He tried to ignore the staring, shifting his weight several times before he finally huffed out a breath. He slammed the stapler down onto his desk and made frantic gestures. “Okay, get up. Go… sit over there or something.”
Nathan did as instructed, slithering from Danny’s chair to another in front of the desk. And he immediately resumed his shameless scrutiny.
“Do you really gotta stare like that?” Danny muttered under his breath. “You’re kinda freakin’ me out.”
Without a word, Nathan picked up the chair by the arms and turned it around, plopping it back down again to face the door.
“Oh my God.” Danny shot out of his seat and shut the door. He stood in front of Nathan and gripped the armrests. “If you’re gonna stalk me like this, I gotta have some answers.”
“No questions,” Nathan said with an arched eyebrow. “Remember?”
“Fuck that,” Danny said. “Why are you watching me? You investigating me or something? I thought you were after Jose.”
Nathan sat forward, the tip of his nose an inch away from Danny’s. His soft voice filled the air with authority, and his breath warmed Danny’s lips. “I’m not at liberty to discuss that.”
Danny would never say it out loud, nor would he back down, but this man intimidated the hell out of him. Danny didn’t think Nathan would hurt him – his intuition would have kicked in by now, surely – but he had no doubt that there was something dangerous about him.
“You weren’t there for Jose, were you?” Danny squinted at him.
Nathan blinked his eye. “Not. At liberty. To discuss it.” To Danny’s utter annoyance, he curled one corner of his mouth into a taunting smile.
“Son of a bitch,” Danny muttered and paced the office, running his hands through his hair. He turned away to hide the flush in his cheeks. He couldn’t decide if he wanted to kiss the man or throw him out the window. “I’ll be back.”
Danny locked up his computer and grabbed his jacket. He opened the door and stalked through the maze of cubicles toward the elevator.
It wasn’t until he got to the elevator and poked the button for the lobby floor that he realized Nathan had slipped in behind him. Danny glared at him.
Nathan tilted his head as he looked down at Danny. “You’re angry,” he said.
“Ya fuckin’ think?” Danny scrubbed his face and groaned.
Danny barked a laugh. “Why am I pissed off? You’re stalking me. And you refuse to tell me why I’m under observation. That’s not fair.”
The elevator pinged, doors opening to reveal the ground floor lobby. Nathan spread his arm wide, allowing Danny to exit first. He was right on Danny’s heels though, falling back into step beside him on the sidewalk outside.
“Where are you going?” Nathan asked.
“I’m hungry,” Danny said. He cooled off a little now that the autumn air breezed across his skin. He watched Nathan out of the corner of his eye. Even just walking down the street, the man resembled a cat stalking its prey.
“You’re right,” Nathan said.
“About what? Being hungry?”
“No. It’s not fair of me to keep you in the dark.” Nathan’s expression never changed.
Danny heard the unspoken apology in his tone. He stopped in his tracks and turned. “So does that mean you’ll answer my questions?”
After a few heartbeats of silence, Danny threw up his hands and continued walking, leading them into a small cafe. The moment they entered the restaurant and got in line, there was a palpable pause in the conversation, the action in the room coming to a momentary halt. Every pair of eyes absorbed Nathan in their own way, some of them only glancing, others outright staring.
Nathan, however, seemed unconcerned. He looked straight ahead with his thumbs tucked behind his belt.
When they got to the counter, the girl – Tanya – greeted Danny familiarly, sparing a concerned glance for Nathan before returning her attention to Danny.
Danny ordered, then turned toward Nathan. “You hungry?”
“No,” Nathan said. He pulled out his wallet and paid Tanya before Danny could stop him.
Danny shrugged when Tanya gave him a questioning look. He thanked her and retrieved his sandwich. For comfort’s sake, he decided to sit outside; he was getting tired of the attention. “Thanks for lunch,” he said.
“So,” Danny mumbled around his first bite. “Why are you watching me?”
“No questions.” Nathan leaned his arms up on the metal table, his leather jacket rustling with the movement.
“Thought you said I was right?”
“You are,” Nathan said. “But that doesn’t change the fact that I can’t reveal any information on why I’m here.”
“If I told you to go away, would you have to comply?” Danny chewed on his straw.
To Danny’s surprise, Nathan smiled. Not one of his barely-there half smiles, but an honest, amused smile.
Nathan shook his head. “You don’t want me to go away.”
“Oh? What makes you so sure?”
“You’re bored,” Nathan said. “My presence is new. It denotes something different in your life.” He tilted his head. “Not knowing what that is makes it more intriguing.”
Damn it. He’s right. “Fucker.” Danny crumpled up his straw wrapper and threw it at Nathan’s face. His mouth twisted in annoyance when Nathan snatched it out of the air and squished it between his fingers. “Can I ask about your eye?” He gestured to the man’s eyepatch.
Danny sighed and took a few more bites of his sandwich. “You gotta stop showing up at my work,” he said. “Freakin’ out my co-workers.”
Nathan dipped his head. “I can do that, at least.”
Danny lifted his drink in a mock toast. He propped his feet up in an empty chair and watched the people on the other side of the street.
Then, something caught his attention. At first glance, it was just a young man making his way down the sidewalk with his hands stuffed in his pockets. He kept his head down, gaze on his feet as he walked. The man himself wasn’t special. It was what surrounded him that made Danny sit forward in his seat.
Hanging above the man was a… cloud? A red fog swirled and flashed around his head. Bolts of lightning struck through the cloud at regular intervals.
For some reason, Danny knew exactly what that cloud meant. He knew he should be afraid at what he was seeing, but somehow he couldn’t muster any fear. Instead, he worried for the shop the man ducked into.
“He’s gonna pull a gun…” Danny let his feet fall to the ground with a thud.
“What do you see, Daniel?” Nathan asked. His tone reminded Danny of the shrinks he was forced to talk to as a child, always asking him, “Now how does that make you feel, Daniel?”
Danny looked over at him. There was nothing telling in Nathan’s expression. He simply watched. Waited. Do I tell him? Maybe he can do something. He’s some kinda cop, right?
“That man,” Danny said. “In the blue collared shirt. He’s pissed. He’s gonna shoot up the place.”
“Are you sure?” Nathan gripped Danny’s wrist, pulling his attention back to him.
“Yeah,” Danny said. “I don’t know how, but… Yeah. I’m positive.” He stood, watching the door as it swung shut behind the angry man.
Nathan got to his feet. “Go back to work.”
“But, what are-”
“Do as I say.” Nathan loomed over him, using that authoritative tone of command that made Danny squirm. Nathan checked for oncoming traffic, then sprinted across the street toward the shop.
What the hell? Danny threw his trash away and grabbed his coffee. You’re just gonna let him order you around? He glanced back only once, but there was no sign of Nathan or the man.
Danny sighed. He would let Nathan order him around. Though he knew there was something dangerous about Nathan, there was also something… official. Something protective. He had to admit he felt completely safe when Nathan was around. He had no clue what could be done about that man, but Danny was sure that Nathan could take care of it. The fact that he simply took Danny’s word for it both troubled and comforted him.
What was that cloud? It was so clear. I knew exactly what he intended to do. Red with lightning. So violent.
Fuck, I hope I’m not hallucinating again. But Nathan had gone with it. Almost as if…
That’s what he was waiting for. Danny halted outside his office building. He was watching me. Did he know I would see something?
Danny went inside, straight back to his office, and shut the door.
What the hell is going on?